Burlington House

In recent weeks, I have been preoccupied by the floor in the entrance hall of Burlington House. One of our donors pointed out that it didn’t seem quite right for the space, too shiny, as if it belonged to a 1930s bathroom rather than the entrance hall of what was originally a seventeenth-century urban mansion. It crossed my mind that it might indeed have been put in during the 1930s by someone like Albert Richardson. The answer, as so often, comes from our archivist. The RA’s annual report for 1899 states:- ‘Another great improvement which has been successfully carried out is the alteration and decoration of the Entrance Hall. The common red and black tiles with which this Hall was paved had long been in a very bad condition, and at the end of 1898 the Council determined to repave it with black and white marble slabs after the pattern of the old pavement in the hall of Burlington House, as seen in the entrance passage of the Keeper’s House. Early in the following year the attention of the Council was called to some paintings by Angelica Kauffman, R.A., which formerly decorated the ceiling of the Council Room in Somerset House, and subsequently at Trafalgar Square, but which , since the removal of the Academy to Burlington House, had lain neglected in the basement. After inspecting them it was resolved that they should be cleaned and relined, and Mr. [T.G.] Jackson [R.A.] was asked to make a design for having them put up in the Entrance Hall ceiling. This he did, and it was approved and ordered to be carried out in the Autumn at the same time as the repaving of the Hall’. So, the entrance hall – ceiling and floor, including the installation of the paintings by Angelica Kauffmann – is the work of T.G. Jackson, whose architectural style is known as Anglo-Jackson, architect of the Examination Schools in Oxford and Treasurer of the Royal Academy from 1901 to 1912.

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